Provisional Candidates

Once you have been a certified candidate for a minimum of one year and completed one-half of the studies toward a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent, including one-half of the basic graduate theological studies from a seminary listed by the University Senate, you may interview with your District Committee on Ministry for approval towards becoming a Provisional Member of the INUMC.

What is the process for Provisional Membership?

325. Commissioning

Commissioning is the act of the church that publicly acknowledges God’s call and the response, talents, gifts, and training of the candidate. The church invokes the Holy Spirit as the candidate is commissioned to be a faithful servant leader among the people, to lead the church in service, to proclaim the Word of God and to equip others for ministry. Through commissioning, the church sends persons in leadership and service in the name of Jesus Christ and marks their entrance into a time of provisional membership as they prepare for ordination.

Commissioned ministers are provisional clergy members of the annual conference and are accountable to the bishop and the clergy session for the conduct of their ministry. During the residency program the clergy session discerns their fitness for ordination and their effectiveness in ministry. After fulfilling all candidacy requirements and upon recommendation of the conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the clergy session shall vote on the provisional membership and commissioning of the candidates.

The bishop and secretary of the 250 ¶ 325 THE MINISTRY OF THE ORDAINED conference shall provide credentials as a provisional member and a commissioned minister in the annual conference. The period of commissioned ministry is concluded when the provisional members are received as full members of the annual conference and ordained as either deacon or elder, or a decision is made not to proceed toward ordination and provisional membership is ended.

326. Service of Provisional Members

All persons who are provisional members shall be appointed by a bishop (¶ 425) and serve as a provisional member of the annual conference for a minimum of two years following the completion of education requirements for full connection. During the provisional period, arrangements shall be offered by the Board of Ordained Ministry for all provisional members to be involved in a residency curriculum that extends theological education by using covenant groups and mentoring to support the practice and work of their ministry as servant leaders, to contemplate the grounding of ordained ministry, and to understand covenant ministry in the life of the conference. Provisional members may be appointed to attend school, to extension ministry, or in appointments beyond the local church. Wherever they are appointed, the service of provisional members shall be evaluated by the district superintendent and the Board of Ordained Ministry in terms of the provisional member’s ability to express and give leadership in servant ministry.

327. Eligibility and Rights of Provisional Membership

Provisional members are on trial in preparation for membership in full connection in the annual conference as deacons or elders. They are on probation as to character, servant leadership, and effectiveness in ministry. The annual conference, through the clergy session, has jurisdiction over provisional members. Annually, the Board of Ordained Ministry shall review and evaluate their relationship and make recommendation to the clergy members in full connection regarding their continuance. No member shall be continued on provisional membership beyond the eighth regular session following their admission to provisional membership.
For information on how to move forward, please contact the INUMC Candidacy Registrar, Luska Natali, at